Everyone is looking for a tribe; for a community, a group of people who will understand you and nourish you. So when we are on that search we sometimes make a few wrong turns that lead us to groups we have to escape and run screaming from. Groups of fanatics (Cults) are dangerous and more often then not people find themselves accidentally involved.
Redditor u/relatee asked people who were caught up in some drama an important life question.... Former cult members of Reddit, at what moment did you go, "oh f**k, I'm in a cult"?
I'm a Material Girl!Giphy
One of the leaders said that we shouldn't watch any TV or read any material that wasn't published by the church.
I said, "well I just like road and track magazine, I don't think that's anti religious." He replied, "that material will cause you to lust after material things and you shouldn't read that."
It was at that point I knew I had to get the hell out of there. GasLOLHAHA
When the high lama snapped a crying toddler on the side of the head to get him to shut up, then demanded that children be kept out of earshot, a thousand yards away. Great compassion my butt.
(Not to mention he got drunk every night while he taught. Not to mention he said Westerners lacked the discernment to judge and choose their own teachers.) tyinsf
Let's be friends....Giphy
Was accidentally in a religious cult. I would see how the pastor would treat non members and members that didn't comply with what he wanted and I would think "I hope he doesn't start acting this way towards me" he would berate people, gossip, expect us to stay at his house until late hours, forbid us to hang out with non members, and he even asked me to move in there when I already had my own place.
I noticed it was a cult when I told them I was hanging out with an old friend and they preceded to ask why was I doing that and that they were my friends.
I came to a service that following Sunday and the pastor sees me and says "I had a message I was going to preach, but I'm going to preach a different message today."
The whole service was pretty much him talking stuff about me and making rude jokes. I knew this sermon was about me when he kept referencing the "person" hanging out with other people and saying it was sinful and of the world. I never felt so embarrassed in my life with everyone laughing at me. I sat that entire service just embarrassed.
Once I left, several of the members attempted to contact me with a few of them trying to "go to the movies" with me at midnight when they knew damn well the closest movie theatre was an hour away and what movie theatre shows movies at midnight.
After I stopped going to that church a few of the members completely stopped talking to me despite us being "friends" still can't believe that happened to me. Tito_Santana
Watching my Grandma, who is the matriarch of my extended family and our family's glue, struggle to pay tithes AND offerings every week, regardless of how much of a difference it would have made to her vs our rather large church. My Grandma paid for her meds in change on a Monday and while I watched our preacher get into a brand new, black and chrome Yukon Denali the Sunday prior and it didn't make sense. tchallathe2nd
Leah Remini for the win...
A couple of things....
When I found out about the Australia Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Specifically case studies 29 and 54. Watching a governing body member (1 of 8 leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses), Geoffrey Jackson, lie, reword questions, avoid direct answers and get thoroughly beaten by a lawyer on Biblical interpretation I was like, "oh crap." I started my escape and doctrinal research.
The "oh damn!" and bawling, lots of bawling as a mid 30s man, came after watching episodes 5 and 6 of season 1 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. The first 4 episodes I saw similarities. Episodes 5 and 6 I saw things that I had had happen in my life. Getting ad hominem attacks from my mother, sister and brother-in-law, which from watching the show I expected would come, gave further proof of Jehovah's Witnesses being a doomsday cult.
Research whatever it is that you are in. Especially if born in to a religious belief system. wyofan87
I was actually in a church that transformed slowly into a cult. They just slowly started doing more and more miracle things and being open more and more days open with encouragement to be there for those days. Tithes became incredible important and the priest family became more and more important.
I left but I heard some insane things happened after I left. I was lucky as I came from a really complicated low socioeconomic background when I moved for uni there wasn't much fight for me. KettleLogic
Had an accident when I was twelve that injured my back. Sitting hurt. I convinced my mother to allow me to walk around during the multi-hour long services in the library/overflow room downstairs that had a speaker blaring whatever was going on at the pulpit. In that library was all the original cult publications from eighty plus years previous. No one ever paid any attention to them but I was a voracious reader. They were into some wackadoo crap at the beginning that totally contradicted the current teachings. (pyramid power, numerology...) I never said anything because it was a closed society and questioning meant total shunning but from that point on I was aware that it was all garbage and I spent most of my time planning my escape.
When I finally publicly called bull six years later I lost everyone and everything. Life sucked for a while but 10/10 would do it again.
Don't answer the door when Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking especially if you have children! They're hiding tens of thousands of pedophiles in their ranks! Fn weirdo doomsday fools. loudmouthedmonkey
I used to practice kung fu at what was basically the most McDojo place ever. On top of all the usual money grabbing bull! The grand master changed his title to something like His Celestial Holiness and started getting his students to travel to the woods to build his temple.
Heaven's gate cult in the late 90's targeted me because I was obsessed with Star Trek. My best friend growing up, her family was part of it. I spent almost two years with them Before I was brought to a meeting. It was scary as hell. They all killed themselves a few years after. No one believed me for 16 years. That part messed with me the most. mtheorye
When I was told i couldn't ask questions. I was 14.
All that did was make me ask more questions.
I ended up at the public library reading up about cults. (This was in the 90's). o2bjody
The Sacred Lamb...
When I was told that proceeding in a ceremony and receiving a gift that was a religious rite of passage to adulthood would require me to take upon myself certain sacred obligations, and that I could not know them beforehand. I could either leave then in front of my family or essentially sign a blank check to swear any oath required of me later on.AhhhGreat
Too Much Gospel!Giphy
When the church spent more time talking about how we should bring people out to church than they actually talked about the gospel, I decided it was time to go. thudly
Yep! Joined a "youth group" that turned out to be a Jesus cult in high school. I should've noticed how important recruiting was to them (considering the kids who recruited me were very proud of their accomplishment), but one of the first tip offs that something was awry was when they covered a wall in paper with a red brick pattern and we were encouraged to write the names of our friends from school who needed to be "saved" on the wall so everyone could pray for them and reach out to them about coming to youth group.
When I quit they showed up at my house to try to convince me to come back. They had over 100 members from my high school alone (and I think around 400 in general). Cat_Island
For me it was when, after almost a decade of being raised in and working for them, i got fired by them. The reason being I had watched a Chris Rock video, and this was reported by one Cult Leaders many spies he apparently had in each department (found this out after a lot of digging once i had become disillusioned). He decided it was proof that i was not pure in Christ and had to be removed from the "flock of christ."
The idea that something so innocent as a comedy youtube, could be a "grievous sin against God" as he put; struck me as beyond ludicrous and awakened a very cynical part of me. And so the journey of searching for truth began.wittyusernamefailed
No hitting the streets!
I was part of a "cult" church when I was invited soon after I started attending school at UF. Since I was looking for a church to attend, this worked out great
I was invited by a real nice guy and started attending every service, getting to know everyone and making great friends. The services seemed to be a bit extreme, a little too "fire and brimstone" but I decided to ignore that and focus on what I agree with.
I started getting a little uncomfortably when they tried to make me recruit people on the street, but I really felt uneasy when they said I shouldn't hang out with my friends that followed other religions and even family members, because they're not "good influences."
Despite all of this I kept going mainly because of the people there. It wasn't until my sociology class did a unit on cults and how they work, being nice and friendly and then trying to separate people from their friends and family so they won't be persuaded to leave.
After that I decided to stop attending services, although I stayed in touch with some people. It's a real shame because most of them are born again Christians and don't know that a real church isn't like that. They're great people, just lead by the wrong person. RageAndWar
Not the KKK!!!!Giphy
Obligatory not me but my friend's grandfather was a farmer growing up, think 1940s or 50s. It was kind of a remote town, but he would talk to other farmers and buyers when he went down to the market. One day, an acquaintance of his tells him that they're having a meeting with whole bunch of other farmers and farmhands and that he should come and join. My friend's grandfather, thinking it's some sort of farmer's alliance, is like "sure, why not."
Friend's grandpa goes to the meeting and is a bit confused when it's not about farming at all. It's a KKK meeting. He has an "oh crap, I'm in a cult," moment, but waits till it's over because he doesn't know what will happen if someone sees him trying to leave. Meeting ends. He goes home. Dude tries to invite him again and friend's grandpa nopes out of there. Cometstarlight
Can't handle competition?
"remember not to browse apostate websites in case they weaken your faith."
Shouldn't truth stand up under scrutiny?
Show them the $$$!
My parents were in this religious cult that always ask for crazy amount of donation. It even send families out to pioneer for the religion. We were one of the family.
Then coming to Canada and we had financial/immigration issue. The organization immediately distanced us. Only then did we realize this was not what we thought it was. The way they motivated people was like any cult I have heard of.willchen319
Get thee back Satan!Giphy
When I realized I was afraid of doing outside research on the religion (cult) I was raised in. I was afraid I'd be allowing Satan to control my mind. Once I did research it I realized that for so many years I thought I was thinking for myself but I was really just being controlled and told what to think and do. And then it further intensified the realization I was in a cult when my whole family turned their back on me and started shunning me because I stopped believing in their nonsense. Koaliawa
Our Greatest Callings....
When I realized ever since I was a kid I had been railroaded towards getting married and having more kids in the organization. Every thing I was every taught was how to be a good wife with sewing and quiet journaling and crafts with no encouragement for my dreams of being a scientist.
Once when I was ~14 I said to a leader that I didn't want kids and wanted to be a scientist, and I remember the exact words: "Well, when you decide you do want to have kids remember that that's the greatest calling you can have." When I got older I did some research and compared it to the "approved resources" I found a lot of lies and cover ups they taught and found the truth disgusting. Nightthunder
When I wasn't good enough. It wasn't enough that I showed up, paid money and contributed to the group—there was always this hint of disappointment that I couldn't bring in more people, through subtle hints like, "You can bring other people if you'd like! We'd love to be able to save your loved ones," to, "Why don't you ever bring people in? Your loved ones deserve to be saved!" And people who were social and outgoing were described as the most desirable people to invite into the church. My pastor straight out said, "We aren't going for the loners you see sitting alone at lunch. We need to go for the social kids with groups of friends all around them. It's our goal to save as many people as possible so we need to go for them!" Decadent_Grool
That is all crazy scary. Have any of you had any run-ins with cults?
It's easy to get caught up in the past.
...so long as we knew what time of day it was going to be on.
What's something nostalgic for your age group?
Video games today are horrible!
Give us a 2-dimensional side-scroller of an Italian plumber fighting a dragon monster and nothing else good for many more years after that. Who needs all these fantastic releases, year in and year out, every year?
How Do We Enable "Big Head Mode?"
"Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, select, start"
"My toddler son has a toy game controller that plays a little jingle if you put this code in. I loved that they put that little Easter egg into a kids toy and it makes my husband smile every time he does it."
When Was This Old? *cries in tired old man
"Anytime recently I've tried to get back into Minecraft it breaks my heart because the game just feels so different now. I played it from 2010 up until 2018 or 19 almost religiously, but the past couple years have really changed the game. I'm sure it's just as fun to play now, but it doesn't have that same nostalgia factor anymore like it used to."
Tests Of Parenthood
"Neopets in 2005"
"My girlfriend at the time made me take care of one as a test for being a father. Literally."
Some things you long for aren't actually possible to do anymore, leading to the reasoning this is why the nostalgia is at an all-time high. What's worse than missing something that no longer exists?
The Smell, The Sounds, The Sights, The Ambience
"Going to Blockbuster with my friends on a Friday"
"Renting cheesy horror movies and making fun of them with the group!"
You Can Miss That?
"Dial up modem noises"
"Kiiiiiiiiiiii…kiiuuuu…kiiiuuuu.. it was something like that right? I even forgot."
"And then I used to open yahoo login page and do some other work for few minutes and come back while it loads, and then enter id password, hit login and then get a coffee until it loads."
Illegal, But, Yeah
"I remember the really early days of mp3 sharing, before P2P came along. There were hundreds of FTP servers that you could connect to with huge libraries of mp3s. No domain name, just a raw IP address that you found somewhere on usenet."
"But they couldn't just give it away, because then everyone would take and nobody would give. So they had quota systems: you'd upload an mp3, and for every byte you uploaded, you'd get to download 2, or 3, or maybe even 5. And this was over dialup, so uploading or downloading a single file could take 30 minutes."
"But it was FTP. Very simple and dumb. There was no memory of your "credits" between sessions, so if you uploaded a bunch of stuff and then lost your connection, you were SOL."
"It amazes me to think how much time I spent getting a few songs that today I can play any time I want on Spotify."
For some people, this next section will sound silly.
For others, this was our childhood, which sadly (when you really think about it) revolved around a television schedule we had no input on, meaning we had to plan everything out around when the next episode of Power Rangers aired.
Cartoons After School Are The Best
"Anime on Toonami. Cartoon Cartoon Fridays"
"Toonami had really great western cartoons as well. I loved watching Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Teen Titans, and Clone Wars on Toonami growing up."
"Old Cartoon Network, spiky gelled hair"
"Old Cartoon Network" is an interesting answer because people are gonna have different ideas about what "Old Cartoon Network" is. I think of Ed, Edd n Eddy and Codename: Kids Next Door. Another commenter mentioned Gumball which is still well after my time."
When Life Revolved Around Someone Else's Schedule
"Born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s...I remember huddling around the TV as a family to watch certain things."
"For some reason, they would show The Wizard of Oz every year on network tv..and it was a big deal. My mom would make popcorn...in a pot on the stove (It was the 80's) and we'd sit on a blanket on the floor and watch."
Or Friday Nights....Dukes of Hazzard (when it was new). Mom would get takeout from Burger Chef...and we'd sit on the floor eating hamburgers watching 'dem Duke Boys at it again."
"Or in the summer....they'd show Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D on tv. 7-11 would give out free 3-D glasses."
"For the younger Redditors....this was well before any kind of streaming/on demand service...and back when cable TV and VCRs were still a luxury that a lot of people didn't have. So, you really only got to watch what was on the few channels that your antenna allowed."
"Another one is coming home from school to watch old shows like Gilligan's Island, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Batman, F-Troop."
"Or staying up late and at midnight....the TV would play the National Anthem....then show a control screen and just "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP" like this: https://youtu.be/Cnchea6LHN0"
The good ol' days.
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When determining how to spend our life in a way that feels worthy, many place a heavy emphasis on experiences. We want to die with scars and stories.
And sticking our necks out inevitably leads to a whole lot of struggle. But that doesn't mean we wouldn't do the same thing the very next day if we could go back.
Some things, though we'll never do them again, were too important an experience to pass up.
Redditor JackIrishJack asked:
"What should you do once, but not twice?"
Many people talked about the life experiences, big and small, that influenced their outlook. They recommend people go through some discomfort to gain important awareness.
A Capacity for Empathy
"Working in the food industry I feel like everybody should do it once so they can have a respect for food workers but it's also a hell I never want to go through again"
Paying for a Daydream
"Buy a lottery ticket"
"You're not going to win, but buying a lottery ticket gives you the chance to dream and pretend. Having a second lottery ticket isn't going to make your dreams more vivid."
Plenty of Implications
"Visit Auschwitz. I firmly believe everyone should go visit it so as to not forget what humans are capable of doing to each other. But no need to visit twice. Once was enough for me."
Others brought up things which, if done twice, would be a sure sign that something is very very wrong.
Supposed To Be Permanent
"Learning how to walk. The first time - good on you. Having to
relearn a second time means something went terribly wrong."
Only Two Sets
"Lose all of your teeth" -- Outrageous_Cream_112
"Haha I had to think about this for a second" -- ApplesauceDoctr
Don't Wanna Find Yourself There Too Often
"Get beaten half to death breaks the concepts of your limits. Second time breaks the spirit. Third time is overkill."
Others apparently viewed the question as an opportunity for a little cleverness.
If You're Good
"Cut...you measure twice before." -- wxguy215
"For me its more like 'measure twice, make sure it's just a teeny bit too long then go back and shave it off little by little until it wedges in perfectly' " -- pistpuncher3000
As the Saying Goes
"Fool me" -- Thia_suzieUzi
"FOOL ME THREE TIMES FU** THE PEACE SIGN LOAD THE CHOPPA LET IT RAIN ON YOU" -- nixusthegod
Only a Couple to Work With
"Donate a kidney" -- RealisticDelusions77
"Donate one kidney, you're a hero. Donate two kidneys, you're a corpse. Donate three kidneys, you're a felon." -- Drach88
"Be born. Going through the birthing process again would probably kill my mother." -- cylonrobot
Here's hoping we can all find the healthy balance between living a full, experienced life and punishing ourselves a little too much.
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Whenever I visit clothing stores, I make it a point to fold the clothes I unfurl. That is apparently my downfall as a customer.
Because of this, fellow customers often peg me as an employee and always ask me questions like where the bathroom is, or if the store has certain sizes left in stock.
Umm, no, I don't work here. I'm just a responsible customer. As you were.
Many of us make assumptions about other people just by looking at them. Who knew we were so presumptuous?
Curious to hear the experiences of strangers online, Redditor lilmizzvalz asked:
"What do people assume about you, based on your appearance?"
People often misinterpret moods based on how someone looks. That's unfair, wouldn't you say?
"That I'm caring and supportive. I have a resting nice face."
"That I am always mad. Nope just dissociating and staring off into space."
Not Meaning To Be Mean
"That I'm mean. I have a resting mean face for a dude I guess. Also lately it's worse because I'm bigger now. I don't really notice how my face appears but apparently, I seem angry when I'm looking at stuff."
"'You should smile' and 'are you ok?' comments followed me from busboy, waiter, bartender my whole career."
When it comes to measuring intelligence of others, some people are just way off.
Hard To Live Up To Expectations
"That I'm clever. People keep saying it to me, but I'm dumb and that sh*t is hard to live up to."
"I have glasses."
Eyes Full Of Wisdom
"I apparently have something similar going on mixed with looking like I know sh*t, because people come up to me in public and ask about directions, bus schedules and stuff all the time. Like, they'll deliberately avoid other people to ask me. Including when I'm abroad and should look a bit out of place."
"They assume I have an intellectual disability. (And also that I'm deaf, since I'm not able to speak.)"
"No, I am a person with two university degrees who happen to need a wheelchair because of a nasty neurological illness."
People don't always look their age. Some don't even act their age. But these Redditors have gotten their fair share of wrong guesses for their ages.
"That I'm 15."
"I'm 38 and a doctor. 'Did you just finish school?' EVERY DAY."
"This thread was depressing to read as I am 38 but often get mistaken for 50. I hate y'all and your youthful beauty."
Some people are typed out as certain types of people with just one look.
Watch Your Tone
"That I have a southern accent. Not one stranger has ever suspected that I have a 'New Jersey' accent (Born and raised in New Jersey before moving south)"
Not A Biker
"That I ride a Harley and/or work on them. I'm bald with a long goatee and tons of tattoos, but I'm in IT for a living and don't ride motorcycles at all."
Like others have expressed in the thread, I've also been accused of having "resting b*tch face."
You know, that neutral expression where you're not smiling the one time you're not in a situation where you have to be "on" for other people?
Yeah, that one.
If someone's resting face comes across as unfriendly, well, perhaps it's best not to upset them by asking them what's wrong all the time. Just sayin'.
Ideally, a teacher should take the job because of a genuine interest in helping students, furthering their education as well as their self-development. Of course, it's not as simple as that (administrative issues aside). Unfortunately, there are some teachers out there who aren't cut out for the job––and they even have a mean streak when it comes to their students. The effects this can have on the learning process are dire.
Teachers don't get paid well, and they're well aware. Many stick with the job because they have a passion for teaching; many others stick with the job because of the position of inscrutable authority it offers them over helpless students.
People shared their experiences after Redditor Ara-Rat asked the online community,
"What did your teacher do that made you call them 'the worst teacher ever'?"
"Questioned 5th-grade teacher's manner of pluralizing a word on the board. Got sent to the library to look it up in a dictionary and report my findings to the class.
Decades later and I'm still mad at that woman for trying to publicly humiliate a ten-year-old student."
That's awful. What is with adults who try to deliberately an example out of children?
"My old band teacher..."
"My old band teacher threw a projector at his students. He left the district later that year."
That was... probably for the best, when you think about it. (I had a teacher who threw a girl's pencil case out the window when she wouldn't stop talking; no, he was not fired.)
"My 3rd-grade teacher..."
"My 3rd-grade teacher got frustrated with a kid's stutter and started pounding the kid's desk with a closed fist while mocking his stutter."
Hopefully this teacher was disciplined and/or fired. That's the sort of behavior that thankfully would not fly today––it would go viral so fast.
"The worst were the teachers..."
"The worst were the teachers who would take books away from me and hold me up for ridicule because they disagreed or didn't approve of the genre or subject material. I was always into science fiction and horror genre's and many of them didn't consider it true literature worthy of reading. I remember my father getting into it with one of the teachers who disapproved of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, to which he pointed out it was on the required reading list of a lot of major universities. Dad was awesome like that, and chewed the teacher and principal out for having the temerity to try to stop any student who wanted to read, regardless of what the genre was."
Teachers who mock students for reading are the worst. Reading is one of the best things any student can do––there are so many benefits! Hopefully you have not lost your love of reading.
"When I'd instinctively try..."
"She tied me to my chair. I was hyperactive, and also 5. She would also hold my hand during formation in the mornings and squeeze so hard my tiny knuckles would crack. When I'd instinctively try to pull my hand away, she'd hold onto it and smile at me and ask me if it hurt."
The abuse here is almost incomprehensible. But it happens: a few years ago, a teacher made headlines for hanging a student by his coat on a coatrack. You can bet there were lawsuits.
"I was in the only dress I owned..."
"Tried to get me suspended for a dress code violation when I was 15. I was in the only dress I owned at the time because I was going to my best friend's funeral. She'd committed suicide two days before. I was crying and begging her to just let me stay till my mom picked up my remaining friends to go to the funeral. Said teacher then took me to the office and I had to sit in the front office under a tarp until my mom picked me up."
"My 8th grade English teacher..."
"My 8th grade English teacher never published grades and every time I'd ask her about it she'd answer with, "I don't know, what do you think it is?"
IF I KNEW WOULD I BE ASKING?!"
I've had a few teachers like this. Makes one wonder: Are you actually grading anything? WHAT are you doing, exactly?
"My biology teacher..."
"My biology teacher took my yearbook away right before the summer break. I didn't put it away in time.
That year my parents divorced and I was moving away. I told her this after class and she didn't care. She kept it until the last day. I didn't get any signatures.
Ended up throwing it away. What a witch."
"My university lecturer..."
"My university lecturer was the most incompetent bloke I've ever met. He taught I.T and for the life of me, I can't figure out how he got that job.
- In the first lesson, he got us to sign up to Twitter so we could share lesson content, tweet at each other so we'd get to know one another, and also tweet him. Everybody, including the lecturer, used Twitter once. We just used the university intranet to share stuff.
- Again, during the first lesson, he announced he was going on holiday for four weeks during our first term.
- All of his lessons were PowerPoint presentations, each slide had about a paragraph of text written on them which he would read out loud while awkwardly looking over his shoulder. Once he was done doing that he would essentially repeat what he had just said.
- One day he asked us for help in booking his airline tickets online because he couldn't figure out how to use the website.
As sad as these stories are, consider that these teachers are very much the exception to the rule. The majority of the teachers I have known over the years genuinely care for their students, work tirelessly on their lesson plans, and would never tolerate a single moment of the behavior featured here. Thank you to those teachers for doing their jobs––we appreciate you. (And ya'll deserve a raise, it's honestly messed up how little lawmakers understand about how hard your jobs actually are.)
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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